What to do with a swampy yard - new homeowner needs ideas!

jbobsMay 5, 2013

My yard is a wet sponge. I have a lovely crop of skunk cabbage growing in the middle of the lawn and the moss is so thick that the dog jumps up and down on it like a matress.

I was told by some neighbors that the area used to be wetland in the 60's before it was filled in with hogfuel and built on. I have a wet spot near the house that drains diagonally accross the yard. I literally need rubber boots to walk in my yard.

I'm not sure what my options are for drainage control, if I need to use fill or crush gravel, or what. My neighbor on one side has converted his lawn to crush. It would be nice to have a lawn as I have a dog who loves to run around, but I'm not adverse to putting crush down either.

Anyone have any ideas on what to do with a yard like this? I'm going to be talking to a local landscaping company this week to see what they think but I want to get some ideas first.

I live in prince Rupert BC where the summers don't get much higher than 20-25 C and the winters get very little snow and sub-zero temperatures. The yard gets full sun in the morning and half the yard gets full sun in the afternoon as well.

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Why not work with what you have and create a wetland garden? You have a ton of beautiful species that you could work with in your climate zone.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:48PM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

Two things you need to do:

1) Figure out what you want as a result? How are you going to use the space?

2) Why is your land so wet? Do the neighbours have the same problem? If they do, then there is probably little you can do except live with it. If they are not as wet, then either you are the low spot in the neighbourhood and everyone is draining into your yard, or they have done something to solve the problem. Ask them what they did.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:25PM
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How about hazelnut bushes, they like wet. Do you want a small pond? The pond could help drain the rest of the yard. How about a tap drain? It could drain to the street or elsewhere, depending on the lay of the land. There are also some lovely flowering bog plants........

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 4:54PM
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I don't honestly know exactly what I want to do in the yard - I am new to the whole owning a home thing. I have an active dog that really enjoys running around the yard as it is, but I don't enjoy going out there because I sink up to my ankles in bog. I want to replace the upper deck and build another deck underneath it to make a workshop/storage space; I would like to build an enclosure for the cats that leads from the house out into the garden so they can get fresh air and exercise without being in danger; I want to build a small chicken coop/shed so I can keep a couple dozen quail and a couple chickens (max chickens is 4). I just want it to be a private area where I can do my own thing. I am not a huge gardener per se, but I enjoy plants and nature and would like to make the yard usable and look nice.

The property is on a slight decline sloping away from the back of the house. and the street is also on a hill - one neighbor is higher than me, the other lower. The higher neighbor has put multiple levels in his yard with landscape ties and filled it all in with crush. The other neighbor has a slightly more dry yard than mine, but then their yard has been taken care of. The person who owned this house before me was a very elderly man who did not do any yardwork anymore. A lot of people on my street have converted their yards to crush and/or used landscape ties to make different levels since the neighbirhood is on a hill. Perhaps I should do a tour of my yard and put it on Youtube!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:26AM
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sharont(z5 can)

Lucky you. There are so many plants that would accompany the Lysichiton americanus in a bog garden. Making one is hard work and requires commitment I would think. Your natural boggy conditions means you are half way there. Lots of info what to buy//look for on the net.

I want a bog garden desperately but will have to make do with barrel ponds and kids pools. I remember the rain soaked lawns of a hillside campground in Prince Rupert!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:02AM
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well, I had a very soggy backyard. Very similar problems as yours. My backyard neighbors were set up highter than my yard and all their water came to pool in my area. The problem is a really unusable yard and not to mention the mosquitos. -- The drain was actually in yet another neighbor's yard and so I had a landscaper put in a weeping tile to wick out the water into the drain next door. I also blocked off the neighbor's water from pooling into my area. bEsides they could just as easily channel their water into that drain. I did this by preparing mounds of garden bed which is planted by trees. Trees drink up lots of water and so are perfect for this problem. My weeping tile is topped off with river rocks so it looks like a river bed. Very pretty.

Perhaps you can consider a weeping tile or a dry well. May be expensive but it works out well.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:53PM
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Just wondering what solution you ended up using to solve this problem? And which landscaping company did you use?

I have recently moved to Prince Rupert, am a first time homeowner and have similar problems. I have retaining walls made of landscape ties left over from the previous owners, and they are pretty terrible. The whole backyard is a slippery disaster. I had to pick my way down to the bottom of my backyard and ended up sinking into about a foot of swamp mud!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 8:15PM
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